JYI: The Ultimate Washington D.C. Excursion (Video Content)

Author:  Alexander Patananan
Institution:  UCLA
Date:  December 2008


Typically, undergraduate research journals are confined to one specific university. As such, board meetings are usually held in a class room or diner not too far from where they have classes. These meetings are typically informal as the staff members often see each other on a regular basis. The Journal of Young Investigators, however, is unique in that it is an international undergraduate research journal. Therefore, besides internet and telephone communications, in-person meetings are also established at various locations around the United States of America. This year, JYI had its executive board member meeting in Washington D.C., corresponding to the 2008 Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Research Conference at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel (November 21-23, 2008). One could say that the theme of this year's meeting was "Expanding through Alliances," as the main focus was developing strategies to establish cooperative agreements with other undergraduate journals as well as creating multimedia outlets and steering commissions to aid in spreading the news about JYI. JYI also had a major impact at the Sigma Xi conference, with an exhibition booth fitted with posters, advertisements, and free gifts.

Besides JYI's in person meeting and participation in the Sigma Xi conference, staff members also enjoyed the Washington D.C. area. Due to the many things seen on our outings it is impossible to describe all of them in a single editorial and I would encourage you instead to view the 30 minute "Journal of Young Investigators Trip to Washington D.C." video to explore the Washington D.C. area and its museums and monuments. However, I would like to describe one particularly interesting event that took place during our business trip. On Friday, November 21, 2008, we wrapped up our main JYI executive board meeting in the lobby region of the Renaissance hotel at around 11 PM. Because, some staff members had to leave early the following day, it was decided that JYI as a group should go on a tour outing of the D.C. area. Therefore, at approximately 11:30 PM, the Chief Executive Officer, Editor-In-Chief, Senior Research Editor, Senior News and Features Editor, Chief Development Officer, and Director of Human Resources, left the conformable hotel and went out into the rather warm 20 degrees Fahrenheit weather. At first, the conditions were note too bad as we explored the Washington Mall region, including the Washington Monument. However, it was soon realized that the weather on the eastern coast of the United States is rather cold and it was determined that our initial 20 degrees Fahrenheit became close to zero with the added wind chill. This was definitely not a good combination for west coast people as well. As the CEO mentioned during the walk, "Man, this is cold...do I still have all of my fingers?" This was coupled to the fact that the D.C. area gets quite around midnight, and hence there were not that many people walking around to see the monuments. We were thus spurred on by fears of being mugged, and began sprinting like there was no tomorrow from monument to monument. Our CEO again mentioned (I am paraphrasing here), "If one of us gets mugged, we'll all get mugged togetha." With this in mind we made our rounds through the D.C. area at a clip, zigzagging our way from the Washington Monument, to the Jefferson Memorial, to the World War II Memorial, and to the Lincoln Memorial due to the fact that most of us had no map reading skills whatsoever. We finally found our way to the White House, which was completely blacked out by the time we got there due to absolutely no lights being turned on. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the fact that somewhere in the black abyss before us was the White House, and quickly left in order to not provoke the security standing a distant foot behind us. By the time we got back to the hotel, the time was about 3AM.

As you can see from this experience, JYI is a place dedicated to the advancement of undergraduate research. It is also an organization filled with dedicated personnel that strive to gain knowledge, even if it is during the middle of the night in extremely cold weather. If you would like to view more events from our trip to Washington D.C. please view the video associated with this editorial and rate and comment the video! If you have any questions about JYI, please feel free to email me at sre@jyi.org.